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Australia has its own defence force that defends itself and assists many other nations. Defence is the action of defending from, or resisting attack. Although the main aim and purpose of this defence force is to protect people and fight in the “War on Terror”, it can have cultural, economic and geopolitical advantages and disadvantages. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is the military organisation that is responsible for the defence of Australia. The ADF consists of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Australian Army, and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The ADF’s comprises of around 59,000 full-time active-duty personnel, 22000 active reserves and 22,000 standby reserves which makes it one of the largest forces in Oceania. The ADF are currently on a number of operations around the world including Operation SLIPPER and Operation PALATE II which are both stationed in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Operation SLIPPER commenced in 2001 and is still going today.
There is an average of about 1550 personnel in Afghanistan each year. The aims of this operation are to train and mentor the Afghan National Army 4th Brigade in Uruzgan, build the capacity of the police force in Uruzgan, help to generate economic opportunities for the people and to disrupt insurgent operations. This operation will help give the Afghani people a better future as well as making them less reliant on first world countries. Another Operation is Operation PALATE II which is Australia’s contribution to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA). Operation RESOLUTE protects Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests. It protects Australia from such threats as Maritime terrorism, Piracy, robbery and violence at sea, and to stop prohibited imports and exports. The ADF personnel on this operation work from the air, the sea and the land to protect our borders. Some of the cultural advantages of the ADF include learning and experiencing a foreign nation’s culture and way of life so we can help and understand them in the best way possible.
The longer the ADF stays in countries like Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan we will gain a greater understanding of the Muslim culture. Another cultural advantage is that it improves Australia’s reputation around the world and shows that we can be relied upon. Just last month after a four year campaign, Australia won a seat on the UN security council which proves that our values are respected around the world and we are more closely knit with the UN and its operations. The ADF improves the living and working conditions of people from foreign nations. The ADF are also asked to perform roles outside their normal duties when they are urgently needed in exceptional circumstances. After being asked by the Australian Government the ADF have been helping with the redevelopment of the Nauru Detention Centre that processes asylum seekers and refugees coming into Australia. Some of the cultural disadvantages of the ADF and its operations include imposing our own belief system and culture upon another nation and trying to change the way that country thinks.
The longer we stay in a country there can be increasing dependency on our nation. This could present a problem because of our lack of experience and familiarity with that culture. If the Australia troops are seen drinking alcohol in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia it could become an issue as they are Muslim countries An economic advantage of the ADF is that it creates jobs for personal in the Force. It provides employment for individuals as well as improving Australia’s economy and the skill level of the Australian forces is greatly improving by having more and more people join. Currently, along with the military personnel there are also personnel who work as engineers, pilots, doctors and in hospitality. The ADF gives advanced training to all its members so that when they leave the ADF they will be taking experience and knowledge with them. An economic disadvantage of the ADF would be that they can become over committed, by having soldiers deployed in many parts of the world it means that there are less available in Australia if we ever were under attack.
Currently we are involved in a number of operation including SLIPPER, Resolute, ASTUTE, TOWER, and Paladin. We have about 3500 active personal serving on these operations in countries such as Afghanistan, East Timor, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. Another economic disadvantage is that we are unable to give immediate assistance because of the long distance between countries. Each year it costs billions of dollars to maintain the Australian Defence Force which could be put towards our own country’s defence and border security instead of protecting and helping other nations. A geopolitical Advantage of the ADF would be that it creates allies who, after we have helped them, could return the favour if ever we are in need. An example of this is operation Kruger where 33 Australian personal are supporting the US army in Iraq. By helping countries close to us we are protecting ourselves, as they would be able to reach us faster and more efficiently.
By sending forces to fight for the “War on Terror” we are attempting to lessen the threat of terrorism on the world. In 2011 when New Zealand experienced a major earthquake and Japan was devastated by a tsunami and earthquake, Australia forces were sent over to help with search and rescue, medical assistance and engineering. This has brought our two countries closer and has strengthened the bond between them. A geopolitical disadvantage of the ADF is Australia’s involvement in the “War on Terror” could increase the threat of terrorism. It was stated that the Bali bombings of 2002 were a direct retaliation of Australia’s role in the liberation of East Timor and America’s War on Terror. By assisting people in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq it could increase the likelihood of a terrorist attack on Australia.
Many people believe we should not be involved in a war that does not directly impact our nation. By having a link with one nation it may upset or antagonise another nation. An example of this is that China believes Taiwan is part of its territory even though Taiwan operates as an independent democracy. America says that if China attacks Taiwan they will help Taiwan. Both America and China have economic links with Australia so it would be difficult to take a side in that conflict. The ADF is a very important part of Australia as they represent this country globally via the UN. Terrorists need to be stopped and if the armies from many nations join forces this can be achieved. By setting an example of an effective defence force we will encourage other nations to follow in our footsteps.